Westminster to annex property near airport

Officials hope location helps spark jobs boom

January 24, 2001|By Jamie Manfuso | Jamie Manfuso,SUN STAFF

Hoping to increase the city's tax base and attract high-paying jobs, Westminster City Council has agreed to annex a 54-acre property near Carroll County Regional Airport and zone it for industrial use.

The property, on state Route 97 south of Meadow Branch Road, will be used to lure high-tech, manufacturing and other companies to the area.

More than 43 acres belongs to Triple M LLC, a company owned by the family of Charles J. "Buck" Miller. He is also owner of C. J. Miller Inc., a Hampstead contractor.

Charles D. Hollman, a Westminster attorney representing Triple M, said his client plans to buy the remaining 11 acres of the annexed property - it is owned by Carroll County - and has begun to look for tenants.

"We would hope to have some users like the users that are being carried on at the airpark," Hollman said. He said his client also might try to lure service businesses.

Under state law, the annexation cannot take effect for 44 days, in case the decision is appealed.

When land is annexed, it falls under city purview and ownership does not change.

The city received a waiver of zoning from the county, enabling it to annex the entire property and convert it entirely to industrial uses. More than 90 percent of the property was zoned for industrial use before annexation, said Thomas B. Beyard, Westminster's director of planning and public works. City leaders said the land could be a boon to the city.

"Industrial and commercial properties more than carry their weight with regard to taxes," said Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan. "They typically pay more than they receive in services. With residential [properties], it's the other way around."

The council, which approved the annexation after a public hearing Monday night, did not hear dissent from those attending.

City Council member Kevin Dayhoff said he hoped such industrial developments would make Westminster less of a bedroom community by offering well-paying jobs locally. "We have a lot of moms and dads who get out of bed and drive an hour and a half to get to work," he said.

"This is the future," Dayhoff said. "This provides us with the capital we need to do the things we need to do in this day and age."

The property's proximity to the airport could help lure businesses to the area, said R. Douglas Mathias, executive director of Greater Westminster Development Corp.

"We know that many corporate jets use it on a constant basis that do business here," he said.

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